Caregiving can be an enormous responsibility, particularly if you feel you are unable to juggle all of the needs and wants of the loved one you are caring for. Caregiver Stress Syndrome is a phrase used to describe the situation caregivers are in when they feel exhausted, enraged, and have feelings of guilt surrounding their emotions.
Indicators of Caregiver Stress Syndrome
If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help. There are steps you can take to improve your life and reduce the negative impacts of being a caregiver.
Warning Signs of Caregiver Burnout
- Feeling tired, lacking energy, or experiencing overwhelming fatigue.
- Either sleeping too much or not being able to sleep.
- Anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- Feeling hopeless.
- Avoiding activities you once enjoyed and looked forward to attending.
- Ignoring your own needs, both physical and emotional.
- New health problems or reduced immunity to illnesses.
- Centering your life solely around caregiving.
If you are experiencing any of the warning signs listed, it is essential you begin to make your own health a priority. Because you cannot care for someone else unless you are healthy yourself.
Practicing Acceptance and Letting Go
Things change over time. There may have been a time in your life you never imagined your loved one being ill or that you would take on the responsibilities of caregiving. But, trying to determine why you were dealt the hand you have been dealt will not change your situation. Feeling sorry for yourself or blaming others around you is not productive. One of the first steps to healing is to accept where you are on your life path.
Although things won’t be positive all the time, try to focus on the good aspects of caregiving. Maybe caring for a parent has given you an opportunity to give back some of the nurturing you felt during your childhood. Or maybe caring for a spouse has made you stronger and more resilient than you ever thought you’d be.
Schedule Breaks for Yourself
You need to take time off from caregiving. Even if time off seems like a luxury, it is essential you prioritize some space for yourself. Besides, when you feel rested and appreciated, you will be in better frame of mind to care for another.
Share your feelings and talk about the stresses of caregiving, either with a counselor or a friend. You might be surprised to find a friend will be honored you shared with them, trusted them with your honesty. These conversations can help a friendship grow and deepen.
Make time for hobbies and allow laughter back into your life. Keep a healthy exercise schedule. Indulge in small comforts, from taking a long bath at the end of the day to treating yourself and purchasing fresh flowers for the dining room table.
Avoid caregiver stress syndrome, stay connected with others by seeking out friends and talking to a counselor when you need to.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.